One of the first actors I ever coached asked me the other day, ‘Do you teach proactive humility?’
I paused and thought about…’Yes, I guess I do.’ I haven’t thought of those two ideas – proactive and humility – together.
I like it. I do teach that.
Dezso Magyar, former Artistic Director of the Canadian Film Centre and American Film Institute once said to me, ‘You can’t be a good actor without humility.’ I heard that many years ago and took it in right away.
What mitigates against you having humility? First thought that comes to mind is the Oscars. Poor you and all us actors dreaming up and practicing the acceptance speech. Hollywood by nature isn’t humble.
Having confidence and more importantly conviction is a different matter. You should build your conviction based on your experience and your thinking that supports it.
Take your place means to be confident - as an actor, as a human being.
Humility allows you to better play those roles that are arrogant, aggressive, cocky, puffed up.
It also means you know you’re just doing a job like all of the other hundreds in this world. Particular, but a job nonetheless.
As the saying goes, ‘Acting isn’t brain surgery.’
You play an important part in society telling stories that reflect life. With modesty, with knowing your job is no more important than the next one, not being arrogant, or overly proud you’ll be closer to your audience and hence, better appreciated.
How can you show life if you think you’re above it?